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How Oskarshamns Golfklubb turned the tide with member feedback

4 min read
Apr 14, 2024

Nearly 1200 members have the pleasure of playing in outstanding conditions at Oskarshamns Golfklubb, and they are assumingly pretty satisfied with that, as the club has been in top-3 regarding member satisfaction scores in Sweden for 3 years in a row. But this success has required a targeted effort, where the opinions of the members have played a huge role.

A 15-minute drive from the city of Oskarshamn will take you to the local golf club. Positioned on the Swedish east coast, Oskarshamns Golfklubb serves guests and members with an 18-holes par 71 course between parks and forests, creating an aesthetic and peaceful golfing experience.  

The club began gathering feedback from golfers almost 8 years ago, making it one of the first Swedish clubs to adopt Players 1st in their management and development of the club. The decision to survey and utilize feedback has proven to be extremely valuable, as the club has used this approach to stay on the very top when it comes to member satisfaction in Sweden. In 2021 and 2022, the club was ranked first among 368 Swedish clubs, though in the previous year they settled for third place. 

The Players 1st dashboard and the opportunity to compare with national benchmark drives our willingness to become better every day. It works as motivation for us.
Hans Karlsson, Club and Course Manager at Oskarshamns Golfklubb

Surveys led the way for a new beginning 

The member-owned club has a history dating back to 1977 when the first 9 holes were established, expanding to 18 holes a decade later. Today, Oskarshamns Golfklubb has 1200 members, hosts over 6000 green fee rounds every year, and the club has 6 staff members working full-time.   

But all these great numbers haven't always been around here, as they have seen a significant development during the past 9-10 years at Oskarshamns Golfklubb.  

Going back 12 years, the club was not running very well due to financial issues and a low number of members. Luckily, the Board back then decided it was time for a much-needed reconstruction.
Hans Karlsson, Club and Course Manager at Oskarshamns Golfklubb

The turnaround kicked off with a renewed focus on the members – an approach they found quite obvious since they are running a member-club. Oskarshamns Golfklubb wanted to offer the best experience possible for their members, their main source of income, which ultimately helped them to strengthen the club financially, as well as seeing a growth in the number of members.  

But, focusing on your members sounds pretty superficial, so you might be wondering what they exactly did to set things straight.

A development plan made in collaboration with Swedish professional golfer Pierre Fulke in 2015 has resulted in 3 new holes 5 new green areas and 14 renovated tees. Source_ Oskarshamn
A development plan made in collaboration with Swedish professional golfer, Pierre Fulke, in 2015 has resulted in 3 new holes, 5 new green areas, and 14 renovated tees. Source: Oskarshamns Golfklubb
The Swedish architect Ake Persson has been involved in designing several golf courses around Sweden including Oskarshamns Golf Club. Source_ Oskarshamns Golf Club
The Swedish architect, Åke Persson, has been involved in designing several golf courses around Sweden, including Oskarshamns Golf Club. Source: Oskarshamns Golfklubb
The newly renovated clubhouse will open in the spring of 2024. Source_ Oskarshamns Golf Club
The newly renovated clubhouse opens in the spring of 2024. Source: Oskarshamns Golfklubb

Priority maps to the rescue 

As Oskarshamns Golfklubb started surveying back in 2016, they also began using the priority map sorted out by Players 1st to figure out where to prioritize their investments when reconstructing the club. This maneuver helped them to find out what was most important for golfers and thereby make the right investments in a situation where they were financially strained – leading to a much more painless and faster reconstruction.  

The survey made sure that we found out where our limited amount of money would pay off the most according to our golfers.
Hans Karlsson, Club and Course Manager at Oskarshamns Golfklubb

Nowadays, things look a bit different at Oskarshamns Golfklubb since members have become more satisfied, and a lot of new golfers have been drawn to the club after the feedback-driven reconstruction. Actually, the club has reached the point where they are close to its capacity limit - they nearly can't hold more members before not having enough available tee times becomes a problem. This was far from an issue 10 years ago. 

We are pretty satisfied with the number of both members and guests as it is right now. Increasing those numbers might even cause a lower satisfaction score in some parameters, and that would not be beneficial or profitable in the long run.
Hans Karlsson, Club and Course Manager at Oskarshamns Golfklubb
Oskarshamns Golfklubbs success from 2016 to 2023. Source_ Players 1st
Oskarshamns Golfklubb's success from 2016 to 2023. Source: Players 1st

Future survey plans 

Two years ago, the management at Oskarshamns Golfklubb tried to implement a change in memberships. The approach concerned the principle of paying more when playing more, but the change was not really welcomed at the annual meeting for members, meaning the club had to stick with the former system. Oh, for reference, just 40 to 50 members attend the annual meeting and those are the ones playing the most. And the club has 1200 members in total.

It could be interesting to include a handful of questions regarding membership-deals in our survey, to give all members a chance to give their opinion of the types of memberships offered by Oskarshamns GolfKlubb or even see if some has ideas for future membership solutions.
Karl-Anders, Head Pro at Oskarshamns Golfklubb

The benefits of consistency 

The Easter period often means the reopening of many golf clubs in the northern part of Europe, and Oskarshamns Golfklubb is no exception. Besides dead straight fairways and greens, the Swedish club has some joyful news for their golfers, as they will soon unveil a renovated and expanded clubhouse for the new season.  

This new clubhouse was actually not a big request for members of the club, but was more important for the staff, as they lacked up-to-date facilities. 

We started the progression of the club with the purpose of having a better course. That was our main focus, and we found out about it by surveying members. Now, after 8 years of consistent work with the course, the financial situation of the club is way better, allowing us to invest in renovation and expansion of our clubhouse.
Hans Karlsson, Club and Course Manager at Oskarshamns Golfklubb

The approach of being consistent and all ears with your members has paid off at Oskarshamns Golfklubb. It has resulted in a healthy financial situation, where they have found room in the budget for the refurbishment of their clubhouse, bringing some extra joy to the employees and volunteers of the club.


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